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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pac-12 football power rankings

Jim Gensheimer
Stanford's Stepfan Taylor eludes Southern California's Antwuan Woods (99) on his way to a touchdown in the third quarter at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California, on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Stanford knocked off USC, 21-14. (Jim Gensheimer/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)

It’s only three weeks into the season, but the Pac-12 has already been turned upside-down, thanks to recent events in Palo Alto, Calif.

The media projected USC, the second-ranked team in the nation coming into last weekend, to run away with the Pac-12 title and potentially take the National Championship away from SEC foes.

Then No. 21 Stanford shut down Heisman-hopeful Matt Barkley and the vaunted Trojan offense in a 21-14 upset and its fourth straight victory over USC.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said he doesn’t really concern himself with what happens elsewhere in the Pac-12, but said it does mean something for the talent and depth of the conference.

“That tells me Stanford is pretty good, too,” Rodriguez said. “The SEC obviously has a great claim to being the best conference in the country, and rightfully so. But if you’re asking who I think is the second best conference? [the Pac-12 is] in it.”

USC’s loss also signifies another Pac-12 powerhouse’s return to the throne, No. 3 Oregon.

The Ducks have been the team to beat in the Pac-12 during USC’s two years of bowl probation, and now, with a perfect record intact after handily defeating FCS Tennessee Tech, the Ducks again own the heavyweight belt until someone can say otherwise.

The team with the first shot at the new frontrunner is No. 22 Arizona, who remained in fourth in the _Arizona Daily Wildcat_’s rankings after shutting out South Carolina State 56-0.

“We’ll get a pretty good test [of] where we’re at right now compared to the best team in the league,” Rodriguez said about playing Oregon.

In the rankings the Wildcats are sandwiched by two Los Angeles schools. No. 18 UCLA crushed Houston 37-6, while running back Jonathan Franklin has even thrown himself into the Heisman discussion with his stellar play.

Oregon State was able to hold off both Washington and Utah for the sixth spot while taking a rest in week three.

Washington’s win against FCS Portland State shouldn’t make too many waves around the conference, but it did help erase some of the lasting effects from last week’s blowout loss to No. 2 LSU.

Utah, on the other hand, made a statement Saturday night by winning the Holy War against then-No. 25 BYU. The win was impressive considering the Utes were coming off of an overtime loss to Utah State and its starting quarterback promptly retired afterwards. But that’s not what made this game memorable.

The Utah fans pulled a ZonaZoo (circa 2009) and prematurely rushed the field not once, not twice, but three times. Utah still won the game thanks to the BYU kicker missing two straight field goal attempts.

Arizona State fell toward the bottom of the Pac-12 after losing a close one on the road to Missouri. The Tigers were without starting quarterback James Franklin, so the loss is particularly disappointing for the Sun Devils.

Cal nearly upset No. 16 Ohio State on the road, but the Golden Bears just couldn’t get enough offense in their final drive to send the game into overtime.

The two constants so far, Washington State and Colorado, stayed firm in their bottom-of-the-barrel positioning. Of course, Colorado is firmly in the basement after losing 69-14 to Fresno State.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Buffs lost by 55 to a Mountain West team not named Boise State.

1. No. 3 Oregon (3-0); Last Week: (W 63-14 against Tennessee Tech); Up next: No. 22 Arizona

2. No. 9 Stanford (3-0); Last Week: (W 21-14 against No. 2 USC); Up next: Bye

3. No. 19 UCLA (3-0); Last Week: (W 37-6 against Houston); Up next: Oregon State

4. No. 13 USC (2-1); Last Week: (L 21-14 at No. 21 Stanford); Up next: Cal

5. No. 22 Arizona (3-0); Last Week: (W 56-0 against South Carolina State); Up next: at No. 3 Oregon

6. Oregon State (1-0); Last Week: (Bye): Up next: at No. 19 UCLA

7. Washington (2-1); Last Week: (W 52-13 against Portland State); Up next: Bye

8. Utah (2-1); Last Week: (W 24-21 against No. 25 BYU); Up next: at Arizona State

9. Arizona State (2-1); Last Week: (L 24-20 at Missouri); Up next: Utah

10. California (1-2); Last Week: (L 35-28 at No. 12 Ohio State); Up next: at No. 13 USC

11. Washington State (2-1); Last Week: (W 35-27 at UNLV); Colorado

12. Colorado (0-3); Last Week: (L 69-14 at Fresno State); at Washington State

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